2018 GSA Southeastern Section

67th Annual Meeting

Geology at Every Scale

12–13 April | Knoxville, Tennessee

Hilton Knoxville

Blue Ridge Mountains


All trips will depart from the Knoxville Hilton lobby, unless otherwise noted below.


1. Quaternary Faulting along the Dandridge-Vonore Fault Zone in the Eastern Tennessee Seismic Zone.
11 April, 7:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Max: 20. US$105.
Principal organizer: Robert D. Hatcher, Jr., University of Tennessee–Knoxville; co-organizer: Randel Tom Cox, University of Memphis.
Description: Field trip participants will visit three accessible sites that involve bedrock faulted against Quaternary river sediments, including a thrust fault on the Little River near Alcoa, Tennessee, a series of thrust faults exposed in a drainage ditch that thrust Conasauga Shale against Quaternary colluvium in the footwall, and a normal fault at Tellico Lake near Vonore, Tennessee, with Quaternary sediments faulted against Consasuga Shale, lake level permitting.

2. The Blue Ridge Basement Complex of the Eastern Great Smoky Mountains: New Insight into Old Rocks from New U-Pb Geochronology.
11 April. Max: 20. US$60.
Participants should arrange their own lodging for the night of 10 April in the Maggie Valley–Dellwood–Waynesville area, North Carolina.
Trip will depart from the parking lot of the Maggie Valley Inn & Conference Center, North Carolina, at 8 a.m., returning mid-day.
Principal organizer: David Moecher, University of Kentucky.
Description: This is a one-day trip that focuses on the Blue Ridge basement rocks of the Dellwood and northern Hazelwood quadrangles. The trip will involve two to three short (100 m) hikes in densely wooded but relatively flat terrane.


3. Blue Ridge–Inner Piedmont Geotraverse from the Great Smoky Thrust to the Inner Piedmont: Upper Crust to Upper Lower Crust, Terranes, Large Faults, and Sutures.
5 p.m., 13 April–5:30 p.m., 15 April. Max: 30. US$290.
Principal organizer: Arthur J. Merschat, USGS; co-organizers: J. Ryan Thigpen, University of Kentucky; Elizabeth McClellan, Radford University; Mark W. Cater, USGS; Robert D. Hatcher, Jr., University of Tennessee–Knoxville.
Description: This 3-day field trip transects the southern Appalachian orogen. Unmetamorphosed sedimentary rocks of the frontal Blue Ridge will be examined at Parkville, Tennessee. The distal Laurentian margin will be crossed onto amphibolite to granulite facies rocks of the central Blue Ridge and Tugaloo terranes; the field trip will end in Inner Piedmont migmatites near Westminster, South Carolina.

4. Steaming through the Ordovician.
14 April, 6:45 a.m.–2 p.m. Max: 200. US$65.
Principal organizer: C. Howard Capito, Knoxville, Tennessee; co-organizer: Stephanie Drumheller-Horton, University of Tennessee–Knoxville.
Description: Field trip participants will ride the Three Rivers Rambler excursion train behind an 1890 “Consolidation” steam locomotive, operated by the Knoxville & Holston River Railroad Company. The train will follow the Tennessee River and pass through a sequence of Lower and Middle Ordovician carbonates, sandstones and shale, of the Knox and Chickamauga Groups. Related rocks, facies progression through the sedimentary sequence and Alleghanian-era structure in the area between Knoxville and the Forks of the River will be presented. Passengers will also learn about the history of the Tennessee Marble industry, and why Tennessee Marble is such an excellent monument and building stone. The economic correlation between the late 19th century establishment of a network of railroads serving Knox County and the growth of the area Tennessee Marble industry will be presented. There will be opportunities to disembark the train to examine selected limestone outcrops, and the train will stop on the High Bridge at the Forks of the River to view the confluence of Holston and French Broad Rivers and the Great Smoky Mountains.

5. Lessons from Limestone: How to Teach All Sciences with Limestone. Cosponsored by National Association of Teachers
14 April, 7:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Max: 34. US$35.
Principal organizer: Michael A. Gibson, University of Tennessee–Martin; co-organizer: Don Byerly, University of Tennessee–Knoxville.
Description: Limestone, a nearly ubiquitous sedimentary rock, provides many lessons about Earth's Systems (geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere), including the geochemical, hydrologic, and rock cycles. Limestone formations are important archives of biotic and abiotc Earth history because limestone chemistry is part of the everyday environment. Limestone deposits around the world provide data for reconstructing global climate change, and thus, provide important “documents” for recreating Earth’s changing paleoecology throughout time, including human history. Limestone is Earth’s antidote to global warming. As limestone is volumetrically one of our most valuable natural resources on Earth, having a variety of uses, limestones are critical economic resources. Limestone can also be involved with natural and human-induced environmental hazards. Because limestone is a common, readily available commodity to all teachers and students, limestone is an ideal material for budget-strapped STEM education and for teaching cross-disciplinary STEM subjects of biology, chemistry, and physics, along with history and culture through its uses in society. This field trip and accompanying materials will address Next Generation Science Standards, including: explanation of where, how, and why limestone forms; development of paleoecology and evolution concepts using fossils found in limestone; reconstruction of ancient geography (including plate tectonics) using limestone; application of limestone to our society, as a building stone, for medical uses, and as a potential hazard associated with karst (caves and sinkholes). Five cross -disciplinary content standards will be addressed using limestone: (1) chemical reactions, (2) biological evolution, (3) geochemical cycles, (4) economic and environmental societal impacts, and (5) historical importance to fines arts and society.

6. Revisiting the Flynn Creek Impact Structure, Jackson County Tennessee.
14 April, 7:30 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Max: 32. US$130.
Principal organizer: Steven J. Jaret, Stony Brook University; co-organizer: David T. King, Jr., Auburn University.
Description: The Flynn Creek Impact Structure was originally recognized in 1968 by David Roddy as one of the original six confirmed impact structures on Earth. The Flynn Creek Impact Structure is also the first recognized marine target impact structure. Exposure at Flynn Creek varies, as there is no obvious rim and the geological map of the area does not look like a crater. But, there is an impact breccia unit dominated by two classes of breccia, the lower, chaotic, slump breccia and the upper graded resurge breccia. The post-impact unit is Chattanooga Shale, of which one facies is present only in the crater itself. Participants will visit historical outcrops identified by Roddy, including both the breccia units and the central uplift. New results from ongoing reinvestigations of a drill core from Flynn Creek, as well as insight from other marine-target impact structures in the southeast, will add to lively discussions.

7. Nutrient Hotspots through Time: Taphonomy in Modern and Fossil Ecosystems.
14 April, 8 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Max: 20. US$130.
Principal organizer: Sarah W. Keenan, University of Tennessee–Knoxville; co-organizers: Christopher Widga, East Tennessee State University; Jennifer M. DeBruyn, University of Tennessee–Knoxville; Sean M. Schaeffer, University of Tennessee–Knoxville.
Description: Hotspots represent ephemeral and pulsed introductions of nutrients into an environmental system. The breakdown and decomposition of organisms immediately after death is the first step in taphonomy, and sets the stage for potential preservation. In the geologic record, body or trace fossils and chemical records of past life (i.e., isotopic anomalies, redox zonation in sediment) provide evidence for preserved nutrient hotspots. Field trip participants will gain a deeper understanding of taphonomy, vertebrate decomposition in the modern, and potential preservation in the geologic past, by visiting two important hotspot localities in East Tennessee—the Miocene-age Gray Fossil Site and the Anthropological Research Facility (also known as “the Body Farm”), a human decomposition experimental site.

8. Hydrogeology and Structure of Tuckaleechee Cove and Vicinity.
14 April, 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m. Max: 22. US$130.
Principal organizer: Ben Miller, USGS–Nashville; co-organizer: Terri Brown, University of Tennessee–Knoxville.
Description: Field trip participants will visit karst features in the Tuckaleechee Cove window in the Great Smoky thrust sheet, and examine exposures of the Great Smoky fault and deformed Ordovician carbonate strata. Stops will include several springs in the Tuckaleechee Cove that are currently instrumented for a USGS hydrogeologic investigation, and the entrance to the deepest known cave in Tennessee, within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Topics of discussion will focus on tracer testing, decontamination, and cave access protocols in the Park, as well as landowner relations outside the Park, monitoring instrumentation, and implications of the spring study. The trip includes a tour of the beautiful Tuckaleechee Caverns to highlight geologic and hydrologic features within the cove.

9. Mesoscale Structures, Macroscale Folds, and Inferred Cratonic Basement Structures, Nashville Dome, Central Tennessee.
7 a.m., 14 April–4 p.m., 15 April. Max: 11. US$195.
Principal organizer: Mark Abolins, Middle Tennessee State University.
Description: Recent geologic investigations suggest that post-Ordovician mesoscale structures and macroscale folds in some parts of the Nashville dome, central Tennessee, formed because of slip on sub-surface cratonic basement faults. Recently published geophysical research also suggests that a north-northeast-trending Precambrian or Cambrian rift lies beneath the dome. Did reactivation of rift structures shape Ordovician stratigraphy and post-Ordovician structures?  Participants will examine evidence exposed at the surface.

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Abstracts Due:
16 January

Early Registration Ends:
5 March